Teaching middle school is not for the faint of heart. But if you're called to do it, you know there's nothing else quite like it. Join us in discussing what works - and what doesn't.

Welcome, Brave Middle School teachers! Introduce yourself...

Heather Wolpert-Gawron Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Hey, all you brave tween teachers out there!
Welcome to the Edutopia discussion forum. Please introduce yourself a little before exploring our other discussions.

I am your moderator, Heather Wolpert-Gawron, middle school teacher by day and author/blogger at night. I was a California Regional Teacher of the Year in 2004, a Writing Project Fellow at the University of California at Irvine, and am a member of the Teacher Leaders Network. I'm a frequent contributor to Teacher Magazine and a staff blogger here at Edutopia. I also blog at www.tweenteacher.com. I currently teach 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts as well as 7th/8th Speech & Debate/Podcasting. Multiple-intelligences, differentiated instruction, Writer’s Workshop, student collaboration, student choice, and fluid grouping define much of my classroom instruction.

I look forward to talking about all of these topics and more here in the middle school forum. So please comment a little about who you are, what you're about as a teacher, and what brought you to Edutopia and our middle school forum.

For me, it's all about learning from each of you.

So challenge yourself to participate in the forum: comment, advise, criticize. Allow the Middle School forum here at Edutopia to be your brain spa of sorts. I look forward to meeting you all.

-Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Comments (156)

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Hi Heather Glogster.com is a

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Hi Heather
Glogster.com is a great site that educators can access to help their students create interactive posters or "glogs" in which they incorporate images, links, videos, music etc. They love it! My students researched and created glogs on topics related to early 19 C. U.S. History. They presented their glogs to their classmates using effective speaking/ presentation skills. It allowed them to be creative and to individualize their work. I highly recommend glogging for students of all ages!!
-Laurie Hartnett

5-8th grade History

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This will be my third year of teaching middle school. I work at a private Islamic school in Oklahoma and have unique challenges related to the various cultures. Student backgrounds range from Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc.
When Egypt won its way into the World Cup, some parents wanted to shut the school down to celebrate. I guess I can't blame them, if Oklahoma State University ever beats Oklahoma University in a bedlam game I would want to do the same.
My biggest challenges relate to having 45 minute class periods and coming up with more creative ways to present curriculum.
I really enjoy where I am! I am learning from them as much as they from me.

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

What we have in common

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I am absolutely fascinated with your path. You do have some unique challenges, absolutely, and let us know here in the group how we can help you face them as they arise. Celebrating one culture over another is a toughy. I tell you what we do have in common, however, is the challenge to teach so much in so little time. Those 45 minutes are brutal. My 7th grade has a block of 90 minutes, but by 8th grade, they are only given 45 and it's a huge difference in what I can accomplish. Nevertheless, we work to make each minute worthwhile and applicable.

Glad to have you on the middle school discussion boards, and welcome to Edutopia!

Take care,

Heather Wolpert-Gawron

7th grade US history teacher, CT

from the urban dimention

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Hi everyone, I am a 10 year veteran (13 with subing) of the inner city. I have always taught 7-8 social studies. This year coming up I have the latest challange of switching from 45 min periods same daily to a modified block with rotating days. It is only one of the several changes that have been given to us to pull our district into "safe harbor". I began teaching in an alternative school( 25 students temperary assigned total for 4 teachers) under one superintendent who was replaced the following year and we were split up. I was put into a regular school and assignened 2 7th and 2 8th grade classes. Geography and US history. When they down sized the building 6 years later, I was lucky to land in a school I had substituted in before I was hired permenatly. I have been teaching 7th grade now for 3 years and I agree with those who say the two grades could not be more different! I also had the pleasure of being part of a change in curriculum last year from Geography to US history 1600-1870. I look forward to learning more about technology integration, blogging, PLN's and other ways to make it more interesting for my students. I am also looking for ways to increase communication with parents - the blog- and if anyone has ideas for the switch from 45/5 to 88/2 schedules from a teachers perspective...PLEASE let me know.

Eighth grade language arts teacher from Kennesaw, Georgia

Greetings from Georgia! I'm

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Greetings from Georgia!
I'm excited to see a discussion forum for middle grades. I'm interested in incorporating more blended learning (through Blackboard, wikis, blogs, etc.) in my classroom this year. After school, I work with kids in a GeoTech Club using geo-spatial technologies on community service projects. I am also an active teacher consultant with my local Writing Project site at Kennesaw State University interested in creative approaches to professional learning communities around best practices in writing.

7th Grade Social Studies teacher and professor at U of Akron Northeast Ohio

Northeast Ohio

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Hi, I love middle school. Been teaching Middle School for 16 years and had many chances to "move up", but middle school is where it is at. I have been at a one to one laptop school for 8 years (I ran the the program for one year and then we went whole school). I have been working hard on PBL's and 21St century skills. I have reached out to other middle schools for projects via skype, google docs, wikispaces, twitter, etc. Check out a blog I run with another middle school teacher about 35 miles from me where we have built a standards based textbook and engage our students weekly in communication via the web. The blog it at www.teachersfortomorrow.net or check me out on twitter: garthholman

Always looking for others to work with and engage students in content.

Cheers, Garth

8th Grade Science Teacher

My name is Jeremy and I have

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My name is Jeremy and I have been teaching 8th grade science for 11 years. I have recently become very interested in student directed learning and PBL.

jealous of Garth

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I am so jealous of you. All I can say about the technology at my school is: Tech guy:power-trip:EVERYTHING blocked!!!! I do hopefully have some better weapons to use against him this year. I am currently on my state's standards committee and we we're discussing the fact that my students are missing out on so many things. I was given the "head" person of our state dept., so hopefully I can get something done and soon.

Yes! I love middle school! I

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Yes! I love middle school! I thought that I wanted to teach Kindergarten, until I student taught 5 year olds. My first teaching job was seventh grade language arts and social studies. That was 11 years ago and I have never looked back! Middle schoolers keep me young and keep me laughing! I love projects based learning and also inject much creativity and art into my curriculum. I work in a charter school where I am the only language arts teacher, so I have freedom to choose curriculum that I believe will be important and relevant to my students. I'm looking forward to learning and sharing information with other middle school teachers!

Math Teacher

Greetings from Northwest Ohio!

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I am a middle school math teacher from Toledo, Ohio and am very new to this sort of thing. I teach 7th or 8th grade math depending on the year as our district just started looping in the junior highs. I'm actually real excited to see how this next year goes as it will be the second year in the loop...so now my 7th graders will be 8th graders! I can't wait to see the changes! :) I am trying to incorporate technology into my classroom as much as possible, though I find it hard at times with limited computer resources and a subject area that takes a LOT of digging to find quality content. I actually just started my master's degree online and that's how I came to join this particular site as part of an assignment and hope that I can get lots of insight from all over the world! Thanks!

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